Manufacturing Kaizen: 8 Keys to Continuous Improvement

posted on: Wednesday September 9, 2015

Lean manufacturing is just a subset of the Kaizen principle. Remember these 8 keys to continuous improvement for greater efficiencies.

uspo Load MoverManufacturers who want to improve production, profits, and processes turn to the strategies that promise greatest success. Just in Time (JIT) and Lean manufacturing are two great examples. What we keep failing to remember, however, is the force that drives these innovative strategies. These concepts are useful, but also secondary to the bigger idea running the most successful businesses: Kaizen.

Toyota Motor Company, the same that pioneered the imitated strategies like JIT, originated the concept of Kaizen. Put simply, it is the practice of continuous improvement.

When you think about a business strategy in terms of continuous improvement rather than solely Lean or JIT, you open yourself up to a wider range of improvements. This is especially advantageous considering the difficulties some manufacturers experience implementing strategies like JIT. With continuous improvement, your focus isn’t limited to one model. In the end, your efforts yield a business that is more productive, greener, less wasteful, more efficient, and more profitable.

To get some framework for practicing Kaizen, we can look to Franklin Electric’s philosophy. They were nominated by the Great Place to Work Institute as one of the “Top Ten Best Places to Work” in Mexico and Latin America after implementing Kaizen. For maximum efficiency, they began with a practice that comes from one of the underlying concepts of Kaizen, Lean. They followed the “8 Wastes of Lean: TIM WOODS” list. Here are the 8 points of the acronym that will help you achieve continuous improvement:

Transport — moving people, products and information

Inventory — storing parts, pieces and documentation ahead of requirements

Motion — bending, turning, reaching, lifting and unnecessary walking

Waiting – for parts, instructions and equipment

Over-production — making more than is immediately required

Over-processing — tighter tolerances or higher-grade materials than necessary

Defects — rework, scrap, warranty and test failures

kills — under-utilizing capabilities and delegating tasks with inadequate training

Using this as a blueprint, you can more efficiently analyze the areas to concentrate your efforts. Remember that for Kaizen to be successful, employees at every level must work towards continuous improvement.

Immediate Improvement

If you want to see immediate improvement in some of these areas, look into a battery-powered tug. They provide the most efficient means of improving transport, motion, and several processes for pushing and pulling tasks. They decrease the risk of injury, increase productivity, and are energy-efficient. Load Mover Inc. understands the industry and knows how their battery-powered tugs will optimize your specific application. Contact us at 952-767-1720 or info@loadmoverinc.com.